Damage to vineyards following several years of severe hailstorms in the famed wine-growing region of Burgundy, France, is prompting greater prevention efforts.
London’s Daily Telegraph reports that producers are protecting their entire grape harvest with a cloud-seeding system—a hi-tech hail shield that is designed to modify storm clouds and suppress hail formation.
The system works by releasing tiny particles of silver iodide into the clouds where they stop the formation of hail stones, thereby reducing the risk of damage.
Cloud-seeding, or weather modification, has been used for many years in parts of the United States and Canada not just to suppress hail, but to enhance rainfall and snowfall in some cases. Insurers are involved in the research.
This makes sense. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, hail causes approximately $1 billion in damage to crops and property annually.
A monster hailstorm that pounded Colorado’s Front Range on May 8 is on pace to be Colorado’s most expensive insured catastrophe, with an estimated preliminary insured loss of $1.4 billion, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
For auto, home and business owners living in hail-prone areas, taking steps to minimize hail damage to property is essential.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), is continuing a major multi-year research study into hailstorms. IBHS resources on preventing property losses are available here.
In the words of the National Weather Service (NWS): “Things get interesting for the East Coast beginning Monday night.”
A strong nor’easter will cause a late season winter storm stretching from the central Appalachians to New England, with impacts for many of the big cities in the Northeast like New York City, Boston, Philadelphia.
Widespread winter storm warnings are now in effect for heavy snow accumulations. Blizzard conditions are expected for the NY/NJ metro areas, in addition to damaging wind gusts and coastal flooding, per NWS New York.
How much snow?
Via NWS NY blizzard briefing this morning:
Key preparation stats for New York alone, include:
- The New York State Emergency Operations Center is activated with stockpiles of sandbags, generators, pumps and vehicles on standby.
- New York City’s Department of Sanitation is pre-deploying 689 salt spreaders across the five boroughs. PlowNYC is activated (where you can track the progress of city spreaders/plow vehicles) and more than 1,600 plows will be dispatched when more than 2 inches of snow accumulates.
- New York City Transit will monitor conditions for subways and buses via its Incident Command Center situation room, with 13,000 personnel on duty for subways during the storm, including more than 9,700 snow-fighting personnel.
- Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has hundreds of pieces of snow equipment at the airports, including melters able to liquefy up to 500 tons of snow an hour and plows that can clear snow at 40 mph.
And insurers, too, are well-prepared and ready to respond to the needs of their policyholders.
Are you prepared? Check out Insurance Information Institute facts and statistics: winter storms and winter weather preparation tips.